Camden family devastated by contaminated blood scandal shocked to find daughter also tested for viruses without consent
- Credit: Archant
Mark Stewart’s father and brother both died after receiving contaminated blood products which gave them hepatitis C.
He too contracted the condition.
And now he has discovered that his daughter Tiffany was, like her father, uncle and grandfather before her, tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C without the family’s knowledge.
Tiffany, now 27, was less than a year old when she was first tested by staff at the Royal Free Hospital’s haemophilia centre.
Dad Mark referred to the deaths of his father and brother, both called Angus, as he said the discovery was yet another “kick in the teeth” discovered when the family queried Tiffany’s medical records.
READ MORE: ‘We were used as test subjects for illegal research’ He told the Ham&High: “As if my family hadn’t been smashed to smithereens already. I would like one day to see them face up to what was done.”
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The Camden quartet were all diagnosed with mild to moderate von Willebrand disease – a bleeding disorder akin to haemophilia.
As he told the Infected Blood Inquiry in 2019, Mark, his dad and brother were all used in a trials without their consent. Mark believes they were given blood factor products when they did not need to be, but despite being tested for viruses, the trio would not learn they had contracted hepatitis for decades.
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In dealing with complaints this year, the Royal Free has accepted the Stewarts were part of clinical trials.
In a statement Tiffany is set to submit to the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry, Tiffany wrote: “Our family life will never be as it was again and never be as it should be.”
She, as Mark has, also drew attention to psychiatric staff having told him he was “delusional” for believing he had been made unwell by his doctors.
Tiffany was also, as were many other recipients of blood products, exposed to the CJD virus – known colloquially as “mad cow disease”.
She said the testing without her knowledge “obviously diminishes my trust in the people who have treated me”.
Prof Edward Tuddenham, one of Mark’s doctors at the Royal Free, said in a statement to the inquiry last year: “In many cases it was not appropriate or possible to treat a patient effectively using only cryoprecipitate, and there was not enough cryoprecipitate available to treat all patients had they wanted it.”
“Clinicians were aware that there was a small risk of passing on a blood borne virus with any of the blood products discussed above.”
In dealing with Tiffany’s complaint this April, Rebecca Longmate, the Royal Free’s director of nursing said the hospital felt it “unlikely” blood would have been taken without consent but also apologised and accepted “no consent was obtained” for specific HIV and hepatitis testing to be carried out.
Professor Tuddenham and Professor Christine Lee, another former director of the Royal Free’s haemophilia centre, are to give evidence to the blood inquiry from October 20.